A day in my life…or why I don’t return your calls

I feel like I have been dropping the ball a lot in the friend department.  I’m not returning calls very fast (if at all) and I swear, if texting didn’t exist, I don’t know that I would communicate with anyone outside of my house.  I’m sure a lot of homesteaders feel this way.  It’s hard to connect with your city friends whose lifestyle can often be so different.  Not that ours is more or less busy-it’s just typically that the schedules are so diverse it’s hard to make a connection.  And definitely, I’m not saying that my particular slice of life is more hectic than anyone else’s life (in fact, I spent several bucolic moments in a rocker on my front porch yesterday, so no complaints)…but in the event I fail to call you back today, this week, heck-this month, I want you to know it’s not personal.   Here is a little peek into a recent day:

5:30 Wake up

5:40 Convince Blueberry to stop poking me in the back and go back to bed

6:00 Actually get up, fix coffee, feed inside felines, assess mess left by Sheldon from last night’s emergency chicken whacking, think nice thoughts about Sheldon’s anal kitchen cleaning abilities

6:10  Get Sheldon up, make lunch for Blueberry, make breakfast for Blueberry, pack bag for Blueberry

6:30  Get dressed and begin taking care of 30 (33 if you count the wild Bantams who have adopted us) outside animals

7:00 Give Kya and Buddy some “born free” time before feeding everyone else

7:20 Argue with Blueberry that a t-shirt and tights are not a complete outfit, get her dressed, move Sheldon’s work pants from certain inside feline doom and go back to the animal salt mines outside

7:30 Feed dogs, feed cats, feed chicks and Lana the chicken

7:35 Get Blueberry buckled in for drive to school, get her gear in, discuss why she can’t play with dogs in the mud

7:45 Wave bye-bye for what feels like 20 minutes, come in and check work email

8:00-9:00 Handle personal business, update this blog, think about updating other blog, check stats, read an article on Joe Davis

9:00-11:00 Conduct status calls with 5-7 job seekers, return work email, realize I had forgotten to put appt on my calendar, apologize profusely and conduct call, work on drafting training program for new and revised LinkedIn workshop, return calls, work network for 2 leads for job seekers, wonder why Lana insists on roosting in the car port, build Lana a temporary roost box while chicks have invaded her space, have a slice of chocolate cake I made yesterday (but was too ill to eat), think nice chocolately thoughts, prep beans for dinner tonight

11:00-12:00 Dust mop upstairs, clean litter boxes, do dishes, do load of laundry, clean bathroom, finish putting dinner in crock pot for tonight

12:00-1:00 Conduct intake call with new job seeker, follow-up with 2 other job seekers

1:00-2:00 Realize I have forgotten to shower, shower, let dogs have afternoon “born free” time, check on chicks, reinforce coop door (again), put out feed for Lana, the Bantams and the wild birds, leave cats in charge

2:00-3:00 Drive into town to pick up Blueberry from school

3:00-4:00 Obtain one reluctant to leave child from school, drive to karate, make deals about what snacks are acceptable from snack machine, answer no less than 27 questions at a collegiate level asked by a 4-year-old, put on karate uniform, wash hands a lot

4:00-5:00 Watch karate, sometimes in abject horror at child’s behavior.  Wish that instructors found her less cute and more deserving of ninja attack to improve discipline.  Feel overwhelming joy and pride when she gives her best effort.  Frustration when that doesn’t happen.  Work on resume gratis for friend, send it for feedback

5:00-5:30 Drive home

5:30-6:00 Feed outside animals, check on chicks, convince Lana to get back in her coop, get bitten in the butt at least twice by Kya, sigh copiously

6:00-6:50 Eat dinner, commence child bathing routine

6:50-7:20 Get child clean, in pj’s and read to.  In theory, child in bed by 7:30.  In reality, closer to 8:00

7:30-8:30 Conduct new client intake call, follow-up on earlier emails, try to reach other job seeker who won’t talk during day, wrap up paid work day

8:30-10:00 Attempt to appear awake to entertain Sheldon and our houseguest, wonder if I remembered to brush my teeth today

10:00-?  Sleep and then start it all over again tomorrow


How to finance your homesteading dream with a j-o-b

This post was originally posted on Modern Homesteaders: http://modernhomesteaders.net/2013/03/04/how-to-finance-your-homesteading-dream-with-a-j-o-b/  When you have a second, please go check them out.  They are chock full of interesting stuff!

I saw this question recently come in via the Modern Homesteaders Facebook page and as a professional career coach by day and budding homesteader by day/night/every moment in between, I thought it would be a good thing to address:

Question from fan Adam Kinsman: Hi, I’ve got a question that I wonder if the fans can help me with. I would like to move to the north shore in MN. But there are too few jobs out there to be able to support my family of 5. My question, does anyone know of businesses, services, or trades that can be done from home? I would need to make a minimum of 4k/month to pay bills and provide for my family. Any help/ advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks -Adam @Everyday Survival

We’ve blogged about this very topic on Blueberry Acres Farm site before because let’s face it, unless you are one of the lucky ones who has inherited your farm/homestead, chances are-you are going to have to work to either purchase that homestead or improve/sustain that homestead.   But yet balancing that need to work with the desire to live in less populated areas can be a real challenge.  It’s pretty simple math: fewer people typically equals fewer jobs.  Sheldon and I always thought that the nature of our careers would keep us in the city, but of course, God guided us into making some decisions that ultimately allowed us to move from the city to the country without sacrificing careers too much.  We have been very fortunate indeed.  But not everyone is going to come into this situation.  So how can you explore making your own situation of finding that work/life balance that gets you to the homestead?  Well, a couple of things that I would recommend:

Explore a portfolio career.  You may not be able to find one job that pays your needed rate, but can you cobble together a full-time job and a part-time job to make the ends meet?  If you work full-time can your spouse/significant other also work full-time?  If not, part-time?  What about contract or as needed?

Check out Government jobs.  While we all probably have deep opinions about our government, the reality is that the Federal and State government is still often the employer of choice.  Check out sites aimed at helping you explore these jobs but also check with your local city and counties as well.

Open your own business.  There are numerous resources available to help you start a new job.  Do you have gunsmithing skills?  Can you sew like a madwoman?  Are you the world’s best cookie baker?  Would you make a great community handyman?  Well, stop giving that skill away for free and charge for it!  There are great organizations that give you coaching and expertise (for free!!!) and they can help you explore small business ownership.  Check out Score and the SBA to start with.

Retrain for a different career. Sure, there are careers that will lend themselves better to larger cities.  But then there are careers that will translate in any locale be it medicine, small engine repair or fry cook.  Granted, it may not make sense for you to go back and become an MD, but perhaps you can pick up new training in a trade in 12-18 months.  It doesn’t get you to the country life immediately, but it certainly puts you on the path to being more self-reliant with a skill that will be in demand in multiple markets, including rural markets.  Not sure what to explore?  Check out the O*Net, the DOL’s occupational database.  Not only can this site help you assess where your interests lie, but it will also give you employment outlook for particular functions.

Do a combination of the above.  As a family, we are working on diversity in our working lives so that we can ultimately become more self-sufficient financially.  This doesn’t happen overnight, but it will involve traditional corporate work, consulting work and a revenue producing farm.  It’s not going to be easy, but we are confident that it will be worth it.  If your family longs to make that move, you need to start laying the groundwork professionally soon.  If I were to offer up some hard truth gleaned over years of career coaching, it would be this: if you are looking for a job magic bullet, it doesn’t exist.  If there were perfect careers that paid well, allowed you to work anywhere and enabled you to live your dreams, we would all do it.  Sometimes you have to pave your own way…but hopefully we have given you some ideas to begin that process.  Managing your career to the benefit of your family is a journey-not a destination.

Good luck, keep the faith and happy homesteading!


Contributing Writer, Modern Homesteaders

Journey with us at Blueberry Acres Farm

Learn more about Career Management

Designing a work life that allows for a farm life

Let’s face it. We’re some of the lucky ones. We live in a rural area but still get to maintain professional jobs. My paid work is all virtual so while there are days that I’m in front of my laptop for 18 hours, I’m still in front of my laptop in my house.  My husband’s job is not quite as flexible, but it’s still a wonderful job all the same. We never thought we would be in a position to be able to leave the “big city” due to the nature of our careers, but yet here we are. On lovely Blueberry Acres where I’m getting ready to facilitate a web-based training session while simultaneously watching our barn cats plot against our wandering chicken, Lana.   It’s a wonderful life.

But what if the path for your family to move from urban to country hasn’t been made clear.  Well, then maybe it’s time you clear your own path because let’s face it chickies, you can’t expect to be a revenue producing farmer on day one.  Heck-we’re going to be lucky to have it done by day 1,245.   For most people, that means still having a job.  And probably a good job because if we are really going to ride the reality train, let’s be honest-starting a farm ain’t cheap.

For me, I unknowingly began crafting a “farm friendly” career several years ago when I was laid off from my corporate job.  My husband and I took a step back and after much agony (mostly on my part) realized that I could do something different with my skills.  For me, I was truly blessed with some Consulting opportunities that came up quickly afterwards that led me down my eventual path where I work virtually but still maintain a wonderfully rewarding career that has NOTHING to do with farm life.  As a result, when the opportunity for us to move to this part of the country came up, I didn’t have to make the hard choice that it seems like some parents have to make: Do I give my kid a different life right now or do I stay and maintain my career and hope for a different life eventually.  For us, the answer was right now.

If you think you might be interested in learning more about exploring a flexible career that can get you to a more bucolic life be it on your own little Blueberry Acres or simply spending more time with your kids in the backyard, feel free to mosey on over to my work life blog, but I’m always happy to give some quick advice on making the move to readers here too.  After all, starting Blueberry Acres Farm for us is all about learning new and scary things.  If we can pay some of that forward helping other families figure out how to make that move professionally, we’re happy to do so.  Happy exploring!